Western Energy News

Despite clear skies in March, 2020 saw L.A.’s worst smog in decades

POLLUTION: A California official says 2020 was a “really, really bad ozone year” for Southern California despite a 21-day stretch of smog-free days in Los Angeles that overlapped coronavirus stay-at-home orders. (Los Angeles Times)

COAL: Wyoming officials defend spending millions of dollars to promote the coal industry as other areas of the state budget face drastic cuts. (Casper Star-Tribune)

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ELECTRIFICATION: Nevada’s recently released climate plan outlines a transition away from natural gas, which a state official says “has to be sensitive to costs.” (Nevada Independent)

UTILITIES:
PG&E faces more fines and possible criminal penalties for “aggressive” logging and grading work without permits in the Santa Cruz Mountains fire area. (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
• About 161,000 Southern California Edison ratepayers and more than 11,800 PG&E ratepayers could have their power cut today due to the risk of wildfires from extreme weather. (Associated Press)

PUBLIC LANDS: New revenue data from the Interior Department indicates payments to Western states from drilling and mining on public lands decreased 26% in fiscal year 2020 compared to 2019. (Associated Press)

SOLAR: A Central California county says a state-approved property tax exclusion for developing solar energy resulted in a loss of $103 million in tax revenues over 10 years. (Tehachapi News)

NUCLEAR: New Mexico residents continue to oppose a proposed temporary nuclear waste facility, fearing it will become permanent. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

OIL & GAS: New Mexico regulators fine a Permian Basin oil and gas operator $125,000 for commingling oil from different wells without a permit. (Carlsbad Current-Argus)

EFFICIENCY: A Colorado builder of energy efficient houses says the construction industry is “going into the next normal.” (Grand Junction Daily Sentinel)

ELECTRIC VEHICLES: Tesla is reportedly weeks away from opening a showroom and service center in Colorado Springs. (Colorado Springs Gazette, subscription)

EQUITY: Tesla’s first-ever Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Impact report shows the company’s U.S. leadership is 83% male, and 59% white. (The Verge)

COMMENTARY:
A New Mexico business leader says the energy industry is the key to the state’s economic recovery. (Las Cruces Sun News)
A former journalist opposes the City of San Diego’s utility franchise agreement, saying residents could end up paying the highest utility rates in the state. (Times of San Diego)
A Wyoming renewable energy advocacy organization says tax increases on wind energy projects will jeopardize the state’s ability to compete for revenue-generating projects. (Casper Star-Tribune)
A New Mexico solar policy advocate says solar energy with battery storage can provide power more easily and at a lower cost than the new gas turbine proposed by a Las Cruces utility at its generating station. (Las Cruces Sun News)

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